One of the most important attributes of leaders is flexibility. I am not talking the physical kind but the flexibility to adjust their preferred plans in order to meet the needs of those they lead. Some things are not negotiable but there are far more things that are negotiable than most leaders recognize.
In my upcoming book, Deep Influence, I write this about leaders and flexibility:
"Leaders with high EQ are both self-defined and flexible. Their self-definition becomes a compass directionally, but within that direction they are highly flexible. For some, leadership is telling others what they will do and getting his way. For healthy leaders, the direction setting process includes other key stakeholders, leaving flexibility for them to choose strategies that will take the organization that direction.
In most situations where leaders are inflexible and need to get their own way, the inflexibility is not worth the effort it requires or the problems it causes. God’s design of church leadership as a team is based on the value of the counsel of multiple wise leaders.
Many of the conflicts in which leaders find themselves are a direct result of either poor self-definition or inflexibility to negotiate a common course of action. The leader who is self-defined while also engaged in healthy relational dialogue is a master at flexibly helping other good people come to a common strategy that allows the ministry to move in the preferred direction. Black-and-white individuals tend to polarize rather than bring people together."
I encounter too many leaders whose inflexibility creates conflict which hurts their leadership and the organizations they lead. Ironically flexibility in how we achieve our ends gets us further and faster than inflexibility and the need to get our way!
Flexibility also communicates that we are in this together and is is about us rather than me. Inflexible leaders irritate the very people they lead while flexible leaders are seen as reasonable and team players. Flexibility is also about humility. Pride says I need to get my way. Humility says I will work with others to achieve the ends but I am flexible in the way we get there. One polarizes and the other unites.
My new book, Deep Influence: Unseen Practices That Will Revolutionize Your Leadership, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.